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Letters for Monday, March 9, 2020

Minimum wage is out of balance

Hawai‘i state lawmakers, please move forward with a minimum-wage increase that is substantial enough to make a difference in the lives of our hard-working community members.

I have lived in the state of Hawai‘i for 43 years and have watched families struggle, working multiple jobs in order to barely make, or not quite make, ends meet. I have worked with many families and university students throughout the state as an educator. I know the struggles they face. I’ve seen families without enough food and children who rarely see their parents because they work multiple jobs. The minimum wage in relation to the cost of living in Hawai‘i is very out of balance.

Parents working for minimum wage are constantly stressed. All children in Hawai‘i deserve to have a better life with parents who can enjoy time with their children.

Surely you have heard the statistics that show the benefits of wage increases are far-reaching. Doing the right thing will be beneficial for all. Stand up for the workers who do their important part in our society. They deserve to feed their children a healthy meal and live with parents who are not constantly worried and stressed due to living right on the edge.

Please support our families in need by passing a substantial raise of at least $15/hour that will begin in 2021, not in the distant future. Strengthen our communities by offering support to our brothers and sisters in need of a reasonable raise.

$13/hr. will not benefit the families enough to make a substantial difference. The self-esteem of our working people needs to be strengthened. Turning your backs on the people who are most in need does not build a strong society. We are one. Mahalo.

Noreen Dougherty, Kapa‘a

Yes to TMT good for Hawaiians

To my Hawaiian friends,

My wife and I arrived on your magical shores 20 years ago. I instantly knew that I was a stranger in a strange land. I knew nothing. I realized that I needed to acquire knowledge of my new home. My wife and I set out on a journey to learn everything possible of Hawaiiana. Blessed with a wonderful library system and a few mentors, we acquired a good deal of knowledge, re: Hawai‘i, its people, history, geology, hula, plants, trees, grasses, animals, cetaceans, fish, corals, monk seals, insects, bats, birds, canoe manufacture, wayfinding, astronomy, etc.

This research has hopefully led me to understand the Hawaiian mind and spirit. Your people have been flimflammed, lied to and deceived of much. Many wrongs were perpetrated by your own greed, sold or given away by short-sighted leaders. This is all history and cannot be changed. The important thing is the future.

The Polynesian has for thousands of years been the master of his/her environment. Exploitation of the land, sea and heavens are a few examples of the brilliance of the kanaka. Your seafaring skills are the envy of the planet. There now exists the chance to hone this expertise with the TMT completion. Yes, of course, Mauna Kea is sacred, as is every square foot of our wonderful home. My grandmother had a saying: “Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face.”

You have an opportunity to extract many concessions from the powers that be:

Five telescopes removed, assistance in building a Hawaiian-designed he‘iau available to all kanaka. Do not let your power go to waste. Use it to advance your knowledge. Knowledge and power are inextricably linked. The power provided will benefit all Hawaiians. Insist on Hawaiian participation in construction jobs and in employee and student involvement. You have them by the short and curlies. Don’t block. Participate for yours and mankind’s benefit. In my opinion, to do otherwise is folly. Think pono, what will improve the lives of majority.

With love and kinship toward all,

Tomas “‘Opala Keo” Myers

9 Comments
  1. I saw a Vampire once March 9, 2020 1:12 am Reply

    The people in government are worth $8.00 per hour though. How do you suppose they raise the minimum wage through their policy? Not going to happen.


  2. I saw a Vampire once March 9, 2020 1:38 am Reply

    Mason Chock, Ron Kouchi, Ross Kagawa, Bernard Carvalho jr., are the ones I mean. They are worth $8.25 per hour. How do you suppose they still pass the bill into law? Not going to happen.


  3. Rev Dr Malama March 9, 2020 5:01 am Reply

    As our beloved Queen said ” it’s the arrogance that is most disturbing “! By people who have no respect for the people who are connected to the Aina through generations of practices, both physical and spirituality….
    Your self proclaimed superiority is rude and backwards thinking.
    Have you really heard the Kupuna’s prayers?
    Kapu Aloha says…. not.
    Spend time on Mauna Kea and learn humility and be guided instead of stealing a Hawai’ian title that speaks volumes to we the people….


  4. Kauaidoug March 9, 2020 7:56 am Reply

    Well said and great points. Plus with a telescope in Hawaii it assures the Hawaiians can have the last word in naming any unimaginable discoveries that will come from TMT. What a wonderful way to honor the Polynesians who navigated by the stars to become Hawaiians


  5. Patrick Flores March 9, 2020 4:40 pm Reply

    Responding to Noreen Dougherty, the idea of increasing the minimum wage to a level that affords independent living in this state is good sounding but balance that with cost to the consumer and market scale for the task performed. If it’s not win-win for all parties then it is going to be off balance for someone. Are you willing to subsidize all earners?

    Patrick H Flores, Wailua Houselots


  6. James Kuroiwa March 9, 2020 7:42 pm Reply

    Tomas Myers, are you an American citizen? If you were when arriving in the Islands of Hawaii, the 50th State of the United States, within a year you are a Hawaiian, a Hawaiian citizen. As you have identified, its people, history, geology, hula, plants, trees, grasses, animals, cetaceans, fish, corals, monk seals, insects, bats, birds, canoe manufacture, wayfinding, astronomy, they are all American. Oh yes, there are a very limited number of indigenous plants and animals, all genetic variations. The State of Hawaii has zero indigenous or native Kanaka Maoli, for all us resident humans or Hawaiian citizens are visitors to this very special place in the Pacific Ocean.

    To understand the Hawaiian mind and spirit, is to understand the American mind and spirit, it’s the same. Also, the Kanaka Maoli have existed in the Islands of Hawaii as visitors from the Islands of Tahiti about 1250 AD some seven hundred seventy (770) years. And, the organized and recognized Kingdom of Hawaii from 1810 to 1893, or some eighty-three (83) years. Oh, the Maunakea, for some two hundred years, if ever was sacred, has not been sacred since 1810 and not sacred for some two hundred ten (210) years.

    The Hawaii State Supreme Court as decided that the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) has complied to all existing laws and decided that the State of Hawaii can award the “Notice to Proceed” the legal document to begin and complete construction.


  7. commonsense March 10, 2020 11:27 am Reply

    A minimum wage is not meant to be a comfortable living wage. It never was and should not be viewed as such. That is why it is a ‘minimum wage’ not a living wage.

    For those that support a $15/hr. minimum wage, I ask, ‘How many of you own a business that employees people in a minimally skilled position such as taking an order at a drive through window, serving you popcorn at the movies, washing dishes, bussing tables, etc.’? Small businesses are the heart of our community and employee more people than the large corporations on island.

    A minimum wage of $15 to $17/hr. will do more harm than good. Hawai’i is one of the most difficult states to do business in. Try owning a business and keep up with the continually rising costs of running your company and employing other people. A more suitable minimum wage that would assist these workers would be $12 to $13/hr.


  8. Steve Martin March 10, 2020 1:53 pm Reply

    Noreen …minimum wage was never intended to even begin to support a family as to make ends meet. .it has always been a way to just help subsidize a full time skilled job, or help seniors with social security, or young people get started that are not experienced at anything. Raising the wage so people can afford the cost of living will only put the business they work for out of business. All it will do is raise our cost of living even higher. The best thing people must learn is they must realize they can’t continue to live where they cannot afford to live. I have a decent education high school, some college, and 54 years of skilled trade experience. It gets me by. I work hard all my life and one thing I don’t like is subsidizing people who think they can live somewhere like paradise and I’m going to help make their dreams come true because they don’t have the experience and education to make ends meet.


  9. Steve Martin March 10, 2020 2:05 pm Reply

    One more thing Noreen… You could quadruple the $13 dollar raise and it would still keep families from making ends meet.


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